At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in Virginia, while also getting an insider view of the Old Dominion State.
To figure out how much car insurance you need, start by looking at what’s required in your state. Most states require some basic car insurance coverage to cover your liability in an accident. Your liability is the amount of money you must pay as a result of damages you caused to someone’s property, or injuries you caused. Even in the few states that have no car insurance requirement, liability insurance is a good idea, as medical bills from a car accident can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and you’re not likely to have that kind of money on hand. If you don’t have the money to pay and you don’t have liability insurance, you can be forced to sell your assets, including your house, retirement funds, or collection of “Full House” memorabilia, to pay for those expenses.
Newer, cheaper cars tend to be cheaper to insure. Luxury cars have a higher sticker price and tend to cost more for as long as you use it. It’s worth buying a cheaper car, especially if you’re a young driver. If you haven’t purchased a car yet or are getting ready to shop for a different car, compare insurance prices for car models you’re interested in. The insurance price differences might surprise you.
That’s where car insurance companies come in. The 10 biggest car insurance companies in the United States are State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Allstate, USAA, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, Nationwide, Travelers, and American Family. Each car insurance company offers a similar product. You pay a set fee, called a premium, on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual basis. In return, you get a car insurance policy that provides you with car insurance coverage. That coverage pays for expenses related to your car in the event of a crash, theft, or natural disaster. Exactly which expenses are covered depends on the coverage you select and pay for. How much car insurance coverage you need depends on several factors, like the value of your car, the minimum insurance coverage required in your state, and any extra car insurance coverage you want.
Liberty Mutual actually tied Erie insurance for this category, but since we already called Erie the best overall company, we'll describe how Liberty Mutual is well known for a strong shopping experience. Customers of Liberty Mutual report in the study they were particularly satisfied with the flexibility of policies offered by Liberty Mutual, as well as their relationship with Liberty Mutual agents. If Erie is not located in your state, Liberty Mutual can be a good alternative if you can get a competitive rate.
While this varies from insurer to insurer, generally a learner driver will be covered by a car insurance policy as long as there is an instructing passenger in the front seat who is a fully licensed regular driver. In most cases, you don’t have to pay an additional premium but if the learner driver has an accident, you might have to pay an age or inexperience deductible or both. Of course, they must abide by the terms and conditions of the policy as well. If you drive while pregnant, it won’t affect your policy unless you’ve been advised to refrain from driving or that your pregnancy could negatively affect your capacity to drive. To ensure you are fully able to drive, it is a good idea to consult your doctor.
Connecticut residents have the second-highest disposable income of any state in the nation and, as a result, the abundance of luxury cars tends to drive up the rates. It’s also why Connecticut has some of the highest auto repair costs in the nation. This puts greater strain on insurance companies, and they pass that expense onto consumers in the form of higher premiums.
"Teens are very likely to pick up the habits of their parents,” says J.C. Fawcett of the Defensive Driving School. “A parent should think about. Do I cuss at other drivers while driving? Do I speed? Do I tailgate? The training that comes from students observing their parents is very powerful. If a parent attempts to change their habits only when their teen is learning to drive, it's probably 10 years too late."
QuoteWizard is another insurance lead generation site that sells leads to insurance agents and carriers. In addition to auto insurance, they also offer quotes for home, renters, health, and life insurance. The site also has a blog with articles about various insurance-related topics. QuoteWizard is rated 3.68 out of 5, and has 36 user reviews on BBB.org.
Some car insurance coverages, such as collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, typically come with a deductible that you may be able to adjust. A deductible is the amount you'll pay out of pocket toward a covered claim. Increasing your deductible may lower your car insurance premiums, says the III. However, a higher deductible means you'll pay more out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in after a covered loss.
The amount of coverage required by law varies from state to state. If you are a cautious person, you might opt for a more expensive policy with better coverage. If you have a lot of assets, experts recommend that you get enough liability coverage to protect them; otherwise, the other party involved in an accident could sue and attempt to collect on those assets.
Classic car insurance is a bit of a simplified term. There are several "non-traditional" vehicles that these companies actually insure that do not fall under the term of "classic car". Whether you have a modified street rod, a kit car, vintage motorcycle, 1920's milk truck, or even a retired military vehicle, at least one of the following will be able to insure it.
While base price is a primary consideration when buying car insurance, you’ll also want to take the car insurance discounts each company offers into account. Those discounts can make an expensive auto insurance policy more affordable. Car insurance discounts include multi-policy discounts, good student discounts, military discounts, and discounts for good drivers, drivers who consent to having tracking devices in their car, and drivers who get extra training. Check out What Car Insurance Discounts Can I Get? for more details on each of these discounts, and make sure you find out which discounts you qualify for before buying a car insurance policy.
More commonly known as “Agreed Value” coverage, it means you tell us the value of your classic and we’ll affirm that it’s a fair, accurate number. Then, we GUARANTEE that value will be paid to you in the event of a covered total loss. Regular car insurance carriers offer Actual Cash Value or Stated Value coverage, which may depreciate the value of your vehicle in the event of a claim, resulting in a smaller payout than you anticipate.
At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in the Tennessee area, while also getting an insider view of the Volunteer State.
Our writers and editors thoroughly research the car insurance options we compare on this site. You’re guaranteed to only read unbiased, third party opinions. While we make money from our partner insurance providers to expand our content and our company, we maintain high editorial standards to ensure any information you see on finder.com is accurate and objective.
If you have very poor credit, the cheapest car insurance company is Farmers, where your premium will be more than $600 lower than the group average. Still, if you compare to the highest credit level you can see you can see how impactful your premium is if your credit is poor. Compared to the "great" credit tier, there's a difference of nearly $1,400 per year. Just another reason to keep your score up!
We love classic cars as much as you do. If the love of your life is a 1957 Bel Air or a 1966 Pontiac GTO, we know your vintage beauty deserves special treatment. You’ve taken care of your car well and we will too. We specialize in covering antique and classic cars, modified collector cars, reproductions, replicas, restorations, and modern classic cars. Have peace of mind knowing your classic is well-protected and that you’re prepared for the unexpected with Safeco Classic Car Insurance. Contact your local independent agent to get a quote.
In contrast, a Stated Value policy (sometimes called “stated amount” or “maximum limit of liability”) does not promise to pay the full vehicle value that’s indicated or “stated” on the policy. With regard to a covered total loss, you may receive less than that stated amount, because the insurer has the right to pay either your vehicle’s depreciated actual cash value OR the cost to replace your vehicle -- whichever is less. Also, many insurers that offer stated value policies (typically standard insurers) require periodic appraisals to affirm the insured amount, adding cost and inconvenience to the client.
It’s also helpful to do a quick Google search for online reviews or to see if there have been any major complaints against an insurer in recent years. And, if the insurer has a designated customer service line, go ahead and give the number a call (or two). That’ll give you some insights into response times. We’ve got more on the finding the best car insurance and best car insurance company for you here.
With more than 200 years of history in business, The Hartford has built an excellent reputation for customer service and claims processing. As of today, the company is still receiving high marks from companies like J.D. Power. In the 2018 Insurance Shopping Study Auto Claims Satisfaction study, The Hartford received excellent marks (4/5 or 5/5) in every category but having a local agent.
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Some insurance companies offer certain benefits for your teenagers if you’re an existing customer. If your child wants to insure their vehicle with the same insurance company, they might receive a rating for every year they’ve been driving while licensed and haven’t made a claim. Check with your insurance company as some offer additional perks such as free one-day skilled drivers courses, which are meant to help them with their driving skills and offer discounts after completing the course.
As with any credit check, a record of this search will remain on your file – and your credit rating will affect the amount of APR that you’re charged. If you have a poor credit rating, you may be charged up to 20% APR. And if you’ve struggled to pay credit in the past, or if you have a CCJ to your name, then you may be denied the option to pay monthly. If you think you’ll have issues with your credit rating, you can read our guide on improving your credit score.
Our Thoughts: Liberty Mutual is a mediocre insurance company. The competitiveness of Liberty Mutual’s car insurance rates will depend on your geographic location. While this is often true with most insurers, Liberty Mutual’s rates vary more than typical. In addition, Liberty Mutual’s customers rank the insurance company’s claims satisfaction process as below average.
Claims and Price Satisfaction: We looked at J.D. Power’s 2018 Auto Claims Satisfaction Reports, Insure.com’s Best Car Insurance Companies for 2018, and Consumer Reports’ 2017 Car Insurance Ratings to get a bird’s-eye view of the industry across the nation. We also conducted a survey of 100 insured drivers who had filed a claim within the past 12 months.
Large insurance companies analyze a huge amount of customers’ personal data (like social media posts, credit scores, and even your web shopping habits). Then, they churn the data through a proprietary algorithm that estimates how likely you are to shop around or just renew your existing policy each year. By doing so, they can increase your premium just enough to raise their profit margins without attracting your attention and prompting you to shop for a new policy.
Once you've decided on the amount of coverage you want, you’ll need to look at the insurance companies that offer it in your area, and see what they charge for it. You can get car insurance quotes by checking online or calling insurance agents or brokers in your area. Usually, an insurance agent works for one insurance company and only sells their policies, while an insurance broker sells insurance policies from many different companies. Insurance brokers are also sometimes called independent insurance agents. While a broker can help you compare prices and coverage options across many companies, they also receive commissions from those companies, so be careful you’re not talked into working with a company that’s not the best fit for you. By the same token, insurance agents are measured on the number and size of policies they sell, so make sure they aren’t trying to get you to buy more insurance than you need.
All insurers base their rates on risk. We're talking car insurance, so the company is primarily trying to determine how likely you are to get into an accident. Obviously, if you have a poor driving record or you're on the road all the time, the odds are less in your favor. But statistics show women get into fewer accidents than men as do married individuals versus single ones. Younger drivers, conversely, get into more accidents than older drivers. All that data on your demo can influence what insurers charge.
State Farm has an 18 percent market share of car insurance and underwrites $41.8 billion dollars in policies each year. State Farm also offers homeowners, renters, life, and other insurance products, including health, disability, and small business. It also offers banking products, like loans, retirement and college savings, and checking and credit card accounts. If you’re looking for a full suite of services, from banking to car insurance, State Farm can cover you. Having one company handle many services for you may make things more convenient. You may also get small discounts by keeping all your business with State Farm. On the other hand, if you’re not happy with the service you get from State Farm, you probably don’t want them handling all your business.
Farmer’s offers some financial products, like mutual funds and annuities, but doesn’t offer full banking. It does offer a full line of insurance products, including interesting options like pet insurance. Farmer’s car insurance is available in all states and includes discounts like multi-policy discounts, good student discounts, and senior driver discounts. The auto insurance discounts you’re eligible for may vary depending on where you live.
Cheap auto insurance doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. You just need to know where to look and what to look for in an auto policy. Savvy auto insurance customers can benefit from the regular price adjustments and the introduction of new discounts by an auto insurance carrier, if they shop. So, are you getting the best value at the best price?